East-Macedonia (Greece) - Thrace-Edirne (Turkey)

Description: The Greece-Turkey case study comprises an area occuring a long common history. The Greek region of East Macedonia and Thrace (GR11, NUTS2) is located in the north-east part of the country, bordering to the east with the Turkish region of Tekirdağ (TR21, NUTS2) and to the north with the Bulgarian regions of Yuzhen Tsentralen (BG42, NUTS2) and Yugozapaden (BG41, NUTS2). The Turkish part of the case study (CS) area is located in the north-west part of the country, representing a big part of European Turkey, bordering with both the Greek region East Macedonia and Thrace and the Bulgarian region of Yuzhen Tsentralen.

The actual area covers 32,897 km2, 43% being on the Greek territory, and 47% being on the Turkish territory. The CS area has a population of 2,108,980 inhabitants (2009), made up by 28.7% (606,622) of Greeks, and 71.3% (1,505,358) of Turks. These proportions represent 5.4%, and 2.1%, respectively, in the population of both countries. The average population density in the Greek side accounts for 46.8 inhabitants per km2 (2009) while the Turkish side accounts for 80 inhabitants per km2 .

Today, there are 2 border crossings: Kipi-Ipsala (Motorway, Major Gate) and Pythio-Uzunkoprou (railway). The CS area has also 2 international airports in Greece and 1 domestic airport in Turkey. There are also 4 maritime ports (3 in Greece and 1 in Turkey).

The GVA per capita in the CS area is at €10,736 per inhabitant (2008). The figures for the Greek and the Turkish part of the CS area are (2008) €13,117 per inhabitant and €8,356, respectively. The total GVA in the CS area exhibited an increase of 53.2%, (2000-2008). In particular, in the Greek part it was increased by 59.8%, and in the Turkish part by 47.6%. Concerning the sectoral allocation of production in the CS area (2008), 9.6% was produced by the primary sector, 23.9% by the secondary sector, and 62.3% by the tertiary sector.

The drastic improvement of the road infrastructure in the CS area diminished considerably the traditional remoteness and poor accessibility of this zone, long being one of the most salient characteristics of the spatial infrastructure. Hence, this infrastructure affected considerably the trans-border connectivity, as it shortened by far the time distances between the border countries and regions. Moreover, of special interest is the fact that a large share of the cross-border mobility concern trans-border regions and cities, mostly taking place within distances of up to 50 km where some kind of networks can be traced.

Research team:

Prof. George Petrakos is a Professor in spatial economics at the Department of Planning and Regional Development at the University of Thessaly. His research interests include regional economics, development, transition economics, Balkan studies and international economic relations. He has published a large number of articles in international journals. He has also co-authored or edited over 20 books and volumes. He has participated in many European projects related to various aspects of development, growth, cooperation and spatial cohesion and has been an invited speaker in several leading European Universities.

Dr. Lefteris Topaloglou (PhD) is a Research Associate, at the Department of Planning and Regional Development at the University of Thessaly. His research interest pertain to the economic geography of borders and the impacts of integration on border regions. He currently teaches Spatial Development of Border Areas at the Department of Planning and Regional Development of the University of Thessaly.

Dr. Dimitris Kallioras (PhD) is an Assistant Professor under appointment in regional economics at the Department of Planning and Regional Development. He currently teaches regional economics, microeconomics and macroeconomics at the Department of Planning and Regional Development of the University of Thessaly. He is also a Research Associate of the South and East European Development Center of the University of Thessaly.

Research area:


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Dr. James Scott
Project manager
Ph: (+358) 50366 0653
Project information
Project duration: 01.03.2011-28.02.2015
Lead partner: University of Eastern Finland
Total budget: 3 386 700 €
EU contribution: 2 644 090 €